Army command sergeant major killed along with 3 children in South Carolina shooting
Stars and Stripes March 23, 2023
WASHINGTON — An Army command sergeant major was shot dead at a South Carolina home this week by a former soldier, who then marched upstairs and shot three children as they lay in their beds, service officials said Thursday.
The shooting occurred late Tuesday at the home in Sumter, S.C. Investigators said the shooter, Charles Slacks Jr., showed up with a gun at the house shared by his ex-wife and the children and shot Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Evans in the backyard. Evans had worked at U.S. Army Central with Slacks’ ex-wife, Sgt. Maj. Aletha Holliday.
As Holliday frantically sought help, police said the 42-year-old Slacks went up to the children’s bedrooms and shot all three – 5-year-old Aayden Holliday-Slacks and 6-year-old Aason Holliday-Slacks, who were his biological children, and 11-year-old Ava Holliday, his former stepdaughter. Slacks then killed himself at the scene, Sumter police said.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Evans was an outstanding leader and caring friend who inspired and lifted up all those around him,” Lt. Gen. Patrick Frank, commander of U.S. Army Central, said in a statement Thursday. “Evans was well known and respected by all, and the influence and impact he made within the unit will never fade.”
Officials said Evans, 38, had strictly a work relationship with Aletha Holliday, and he was command sergeant major for the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion at U.S. Army Central. Army Central, or ARCENT, is a service formation headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., that handles administrative matters for soldiers in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Police said they are still investigating the quadruple homicide and have not yet specified a motive. Authorities did say Slacks gained access to his former wife’s house because he still had a key. The Army waited until Thursday to identify Evans to allow his family to grieve privately, a service spokesperson said.
A native of Petersburg, Va., Evans joined the Army in 2002 and served in several positions and locations worldwide — including Iraq and Kuwait — during the last two decades. He joined U.S. Army Central Command in 2021. During his Army career, Evans received several awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor.
The Army said Slacks was a former soldier and later became a civilian Army employee. He served for years as a tracked-vehicle mechanic and spent time on deployment in Iraq and Kuwait in 2003, 2005 and 2006. He held the rank of staff sergeant at the end of his service.
The service also said Slacks was a civilian Army employee for eight nonconsecutive years in Hawaii and Texas before starting his job at ARCENT last month. It was not initially clear Thursday whether he ever worked directly with Evans.
"Anybody who has children — anybody who has empathy toward a child dying so violently could understand how that mother is feeling," Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.